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Fuel Consumption Education Act

Location: Washington, DC

FUEL CONSUMPTION EDUCATION ACT -- (House of Representatives - July 26, 2006)


Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Speaker, this bill that we are debating right now was supposed to be a part of a comprehensive Republican Energy Week that we were going to have here at the end of July, showing how committed the Republican Party was to dealing with the energy crisis in our country.

And this is energy week for the Republicans, although I would spell ``weak,'' w-e-a-k, because that is really what this bill is. This is a conservation, efficiency, education bill.

Now, it turns out that if you go to the Department of Energy Web site, you find out that they are already doing almost everything that is in this bill. It is already on their Web site. What I think the American people understand is that they should not expect the Republican Party to actually stand up to do something about energy efficiency.

Because, after all, we put 70 percent of all of the oil which we consume into gasoline tanks. So you would think that they would be out here on the floor, we would be having a huge debate about how to increase the fuel economy for the automotive fleet in our country, which has gone backwards over the last 20 years, to a standard that we met in 1981.

Now, the problem is that America now imports 61 percent of all of the oil which we consume. We put 70 percent of that oil into gasoline tanks. Now, if we just improve the fuel economy standards for our country to 33 miles per gallon over the next 10 years, that would be all of the oil that we actually import from the Persian Gulf. Thirty-three miles per gallon is all of the oil from the Persian Gulf.

Instead, we are back down at 25 miles per gallon in the United States, with this huge challenge knowing that the United States only has 3 percent of the oil reserves in the world.

So this bill out here educating the public as to how to drive their vehicle better or inflate their tires, that is all fine. But it is already out there. The Department of Energy is already doing it. Consumers are already trying to save the price of gasoline at the pump, because they know that OPEC and the oil industry is tipping them upside down and shaking money out of their pockets every time they go in to refill their tank.

By the way, when it comes to appliances, when it comes to electric consumption in our country, the Bush administration, over the first 6 years, has yet to promulgate a regulation on making the devices which we use in our country more efficient. They keep putting it back and back and back. And what they do is they tell us that the first one might be issued in September of 2007, and the last of the backlogged standards will not come out until 2011 and will not go into effect until 2016.

That will be the energy efficiency legacy of the Bush administration, of the Republicans, because, ladies and gentlemen, all of the coal-fired, oil-fired, nuclear-fired power plants that are built in America are nothing more than that electrical generation which is built so that we can plug in toasters, refrigerators, stoves, computers, have light bulbs go on.

But the Bush administration does not want to ensure that the industries that make these devices have to make them more efficient. So as a result we have more pollution, more health problems, and when it comes to automobiles and the importation of 70 percent of the oil, which we consume, by the way it was only 30 percent of the oil that we consumed in 1975 at the first oil crisis.

We are now up to 61 percent getting deeper and deeper. Since the Republicans took over the Congress in 1995, we have gone from 45 percent dependence on imported oil to 61 percent dependence upon imported oil, a 16 percent increase. Goes up about 1 1/2 percent every year that the Republicans control the House and the Senate, and it really accelerates when they take over the Presidency, which they have had for the last 6 years.

They are saying today that they are not going to do anything about the fuel economy standards for SUVs and for automobiles. They are not going to improve the efficiency over the next 10 years, next 20 years, no plan in place. Same thing is true for the appliances which we use, the devices which consume electricity, no plan. But you can go to the Web site. That is what their bill will do. You can find out how to make more efficient the inefficient devices which you now have. That is the plan.

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you it is about as dangerous an abdication of responsibility on any issue that our country has ever seen. We just had the new President of Iraq address the Congress today. Is there a connection between the volatility in the price of oil for Americans at the gas pump and his presence here today?

The pictures that we see every night in Lebanon? All of it is related to the unfortunately crazy, speculative marketplace that is now opening up on the price of oil, because people believe that chaos is breaking out. Who is the victim? Each and every American who has to pay these exorbitantly high prices for energy because there is no Republican energy plan.

This is energy week for the Republicans, w-e-a-k. That is what we have on the floor debated this afternoon. I urge a ``no'' vote on this ineffectual, redundant, unnecessary piece of legislation


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